Tearing the Doors of the Closet

Waistlines expand and grey hairs appear with age; time and money seem to vanish with the appearance of children; and as relationships mature, the romantic Valentine gesture is replaced with something more…. practical. They do at my house, anyway.

After nearly 20 years together, gone are the days of red roses (never my favorite), fancy dinners (not my style anyway) and romantic getaways (unless you call an out-of-town hockey tournament romantic). This Valentine’s Day, I got something a bit more substantial to mark the occasion.

Dean, hopeless romantic that he is, bought me a new closet. And it was the best gift I’ve gotten in a long while.

We’ve been meaning to update our bedroom closet since we moved into this house. Seven years ago. Seven years of cramming my clothes in baskets and bins at the bottom of my closet. Seven years of messy piles that swallow your favorite jeans, never to return them. (It was so bad, I can only show you the “in progress” picture. The “before” was too much.)

FullSizeRender-1Finally I feel like a grown up. My new semi-custom closet is so well organized and pretty, I can’t help but spend long hours laying in bed admiring its tidy beauty. I may never put the closet doors back on!

Thanks for your help, Cousin Ben – Dean would never have gotten this amazing piece of art put together without you!FullSizeRender-2

Too Good to Last

We knew it would happen eventually.

Finn’s lucky Matt Duchene jersey couldn’t keep us in the playoffs forever.

On Valentine’s Day morning, at Scarborough Gardens (where Finn first learned to skate, incidentally), we handed the series over to Forest Hill. Maybe Matt needed to borrow some of that magic back – he did score his 300th career point last night. Continue reading

Lucky Matt Duchene Jersey

The Magic Lives On

Just when I thought minor hockey couldn’t get more exciting, Finn and his Markham Islanders Minor Atom A teammates kicked things up to the next level.

With a bit of luck, a few smart moves and a whole lot of temerity, we pulled off a miracle.

Last night, the Markham Islanders drove (slowly) across the 401 on a snowy winter evening to show Forest Hill what hard work and perseverance can do. It was a tied game going into the last minute of the third period. The Islanders knew that anything less than a win had us out of the playoffs. Did our boys give up? Throw in the towel and call their baseball and soccer coaches for pre-season practice? No, they did not.

With less than 30 seconds left, an empty net (ours), and a lucky penalty (theirs), the heavens aligned, a hole opened and we scored the winning goal. Moms nearly fainted in the stands. Dads were patting each other on the back. Siblings continued to act bored, playing on their iPads (secretly, on the inside, they cheered for their brothers).

And waiting patiently in a smelly dressing room, hung one lucky Matt Duchene jersey. I hope it still has a bit of luck left in it – we will be meeting Forest Hill again on Saturday morning.

Lucky Matt Duchene Jersey

The jersey finally came off – but only long enough for Finn to shower…

Happy Birthday Coach!

I have the easiest husband to please.

We celebrated his birthday today, and all he wanted was a new scoopy shovel and an old-fashioned Tomato Soup Cake.

Check and check.
Happy Birthday DeanIt doesn’t hurt that he just bought his dream boat a few weeks ago. A new shirt or watch just wouldn’t measure up – so we didn’t even try. But we did let him buy himself a new fish finder… that must count for something, right??

Birthday Dean,February 08, 2015-3Happy Birthday Coach

Homework Heaven

I loved school. I could have been a professional student, if my husband didn’t insist I earn my keep. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils (yes, they do have a smell), the crisp white pages of a new workbook, the metallic click of closing binders  – magical.

IMG_1059I live to “help” them with their homework assignments so when the kids bring home class projects, I get a little giddy. And when Bronwyn brought home her Flat Stanley-themed project I was in heaven.

After reading Flat Stanley in class, each student was tasked with creating their own “Flat Self”. The assignment was to take their “Flat Selves on a few adventures and document them in a workbook to present to the class. The project coincided with a hockey tournament to Buffalo, so Flat Bronwyn took a little road trip with us. Since it was a hockey tournament, Flat Bronwyn needed a team jersey, and there would be a pool, so she’d need a bathing suit too – nothing a little construction paper couldn’t fix.

I do admit, I got a bit carried away, but the pictures turned out great and I think Flat Bronwyn really enjoyed herself. I know I did!

I have my fingers crossed for an A+… I put a lot of effort into this assignment.

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Counting down to Spring

We lost an important part of the family last spring – even her stunning makeover was not enough to breathe new life Sharktooth 2.0.

Our summer was not the same. It was the ducks and loons that woke us early on Sunday mornings, not the sounds of Dean and Finn sneaking off for a fish at Turtle Swamp. There were no trips to Rosedale for ice cream or boat rides to visit friends across the lake. And tubing was a distant memory. We were officially landlocked.

Summer 2015 is definitely looking up. After a full day of dreaming, planning and bargaining at the Toronto Boat Show, we have finally filled the hole that Sharktooth left.

Introducing…. Sharktooth 3.0
CCCookies_1,January 17, 2015-4

She is a much shinier, faster, and bigger boat than our beloved Sharktooth, but she does have some pretty big shoes to fill. Already we are dreaming of early morning fishing in Finn’s secret spot, afternoon tubing in the sun, and we can almost taste the ice cream in Rosedale – but no eating in the boat!!

Summer can’t some soon enough for us…

CCCookies_1,January 17, 2015-2CCCookies_1,January 17, 2015 CCCookies_1,January 17, 2015-3

 

 

How Will They Ever Grow up?

There is a story popping up everywhere I turn – on the radio, in my news feed online and even the noontime news. A family in Maryland is being investigated for neglect by Child Protective Services for letting their kids walk home from a park unsupervised.

I’m glad Child Protective Services weren’t cruising my neighborhood!

As a parent of a child who has earned the privilege of walking through the neighborhood on his own, I applaud these parents. Every child develops at his own pace, and all parents should be free to make the parenting decisions that are right for their families.

I strongly believe it is my job, as a parent, to raise healthy, well-adjusted adults who can contribute to society in a positive way. While I would love to do everything for my kids, cocoon them in a safe and comfortable world, and make sure nothing bad ever touches them, how does that benefit either of us?

One day, I want both of my kids to leave my house, get a decent-paying job and only come back for the occasional visit.

At nine years old, and after much discussion and negotiation, Findley walks home from school unsupervised. The walk is less than two kilometers and, at his pace, takes about 30 minutes (I do it in under 15). He knows that if he isn’t home by the agreed-upon time, he will lose this privilege and be stuck back at daycare with his sister. The boy understands his limits because he has informed his daycare provider on more than one occasion that, while he can walk home alone, he is “not responsible enough to walk home with Bronwyn yet”.

We also expect Finn to help with household chores, pack and carry his own hockey bag, help with yard work, and even make his own breakfast. Oh, the travesty!

Bronwyn isn’t immune either: the poor girl has to keep her room tidy, set and clear the table and pour her own drinks. I get to clean up the spills…

One day, I want both of my kids to leave my house, get a decent-paying job and only come back for the occasional visit. That means they will most likely have to learn to take the subway, do laundry and shop for food – all on their own. If I don’t let them stretch their wings and build their confidence and independence now, they might never leave!